Updated: Oct 2, 2020
Buttery coffee cake filled with cinnamon espresso swirl and topped up with crunchy, cookie-like streusel. Perfect add on to morning cup of strong tea or coffee.
Sweet, buttery, with warm notes coming from pinch of cardamom and caramel/espresso/cinnamon swirl. It’s an enjoyable, quick, no-fuss bake. This cake will keep moist, fresh and buttery for at least 3 days.
For a good bake:
Use all ingredients at room temperature. To speed things up, you may opt to place eggs in warm water for few minutes. Eggs at room temperature (when beaten) will add more volume to the cake batter. Warm up milk (21C) before adding to the cake batter.
Butter - use unsalted butter in this bake. The texture in this recipe comes from creaming method. Invest some time in this step (6-8min) and it will pay back with beautiful crumb. Use pliable butter - soft but not oily. How do you know when to use your butter? When pressing, you should easily leave a dent on butter, without oily marks. It usually takes 30-45minutes for butter to become pliable (left at 20-21C). I use butter when it reaches around 16-17C. It will warm up further when beaten with sugar.
Texture - again - creaming method. Beat butter for 1-2 minutes first (it should be visibly creamy, not too hard or too oily). Then, add sugar in 5-6 go’s. It should take about 3-4 minutes to incorporate the sugar fully. The base at that point should be fluffy and pale. Add eggs, one at a time, incorporating fully before next addition. Sometimes the mixture splits slightly when you add 5th egg. Don’t worry and proceed - it will not have an impact on final texture (it’s usually to do with temperature or over/underbeating the mixture). Add flour in one turn - don’t over-mix (few swift moves). Milk in this recipe is added as a last step. This approach produces soft, buttery and melt in your mouth crumb. When you add milk - don’t over-mix, just few swift moves should bring the batter together.
Cinnamon swirl - light brown sugar brings subtle caramel notes to this swirl. Coffee and cinnamon are a perfect combination. Use instant coffee (coffee powder) rather than granules or arabica.
Cardamom brings warmth to this cake and knocks back some of the sweetness. if you can’t get ground cardamom - grind seeds from 6-7 cardamom pods with a small amount of flour and then mix back in with the rest of flour. Just make sure total amount of flour used is as in the recipe.
Buttery streusel - to get the most out of the texture, place streusel in the freezer for 20-30 minutes before using. It will bake into buttery, crunchy, cookie-like crumb.
Assembling the cake - line baking tin with two criss-crossed pieces of parchment paper. Brush tin with butter. Place 1/3rd of batter at the bottom of the tin, sprinkle with cinnamon topping. Place the remaining 2/3rd of cake batter on top (use tablespoon) and gently spread. Cover the cake with cold streusel and bake.
Baking - no sneak peeking, try not to vent the oven during baking. Let this cake bake nice and steady at even temperature. Start checking if fully baked through after 50-55 minutes.
Storage - this cake is enjoyable for few days. I love this cake on day 2 or 3 (probably even more than when freshly baked)! Store covered in the cake stand or cling film (air tight) at room temperature.
Coffee Cake Recipe
Yield: 24 servings
Time: 30 min prep + 55 min baking
Tin: 23cmx33cm (4-5cm deep)
310g all-purpose (plain) flour
2 flat tsps (10g) baking powder
1/3 tsp ground cardamom (or 6-7 pods)
300g unsalted butter, soft but not oily
300g caster sugar
5 large eggs (300g, weighed when cracked), room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
1 and 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
80g full-fat milk or natural yoghurt, room temperature
140g light brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp espresso coffee powder (instant)
140g all-purpose flour
130g confectioners’ (icing) sugar
1/5 tsp coarse sea salt
140g unsalted butter, cold
Preheat the oven to 175C (160C fan forced). Line baking tray with two pieces of criss-crossed parchment paper. Brush bottom and sides with butter.
Prepare cinnamon filling and streusel: For the cinnamon filling - mix light brown sugar with ground cinnamon and coffee powder. Set aside. For the streusel - mix flour with confectioners’ (icing) sugar and sift. Mix in coarse salt and grate (large scale) cold butter into the mix. Working with your finger tips and palms of your hands, rub butter into the mixture until crumbly texture forms. Place buttery streusel into the freezer until ready to use.
Prepare fluffy cake base: Mix flour with baking powder, ground cardamom and sift. Set aside. Place diced butter in your main mixing bowl. Using stand mixer (paddle attachment) or handheld mixer, beat butter (medium speed) for 1 minute. Then, start adding sugar - 3-4 Tbsps at a time (medium-high speed). After 4-5 minutes the sugar should be incorporated. Start adding eggs (medium speed) - one at a time, make sure egg is fully incorporated before next addition. If the mixture looks slightly split - don’t worry, it will bake fine (don’t beat extensively). When done - add vanilla bean paste and coarse sea salt and mix briefly. Add sifted flour (all at once) and with few swift moves combine (low speed if using paddle attachment, lowest speed if using handheld mixer). At the end - add milk (room temperature) and mix only until combined (few swift moves).
Assemble the cake: Pour 1/3rd of the batter onto the baking tin. Cover with cinnamon filling. Place the rest of the batter on top - in few patches, then gently combine to cover the filling. Cover with cold streusel and place in the oven.
Bake at 175C (160C fan forced) for 55 min. No sneak peeking when the cake is baking (don’t vent the oven). Start checking if fully baked through after 55min. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes before serving. The cake is enjoyable for at least 3 days.